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A marketing plan (or as I sometimes call it, aMarketing Plan of Attack™) is a written document that outlines your band’s goals and the strategies you intend to use to achieve these goals. This can be helpful in keeping all members of a band on track, communicating to a manager what you’d like to achieve, and even convincing investors that you have a viable business idea.
While marketing plans can come in all shapes, sizes and lengths, what follows is the ordering and elements commonly used:
1. Front Cover: A front cover with your photograph or logo, artist name, and website URL. This can be created easily using a word processing program like Microsoft Office Word.
2. Executive Summary: A one-page overview of your entire marketing plan including a brief history about your band and its successes, your goals, and the strategies you intend to execute to achieve your goals. This is intended to hook the reader into the main body of your plan.
3. Table of Contents (TOC): A TOC outlining each section of the plan with page numbers.
4. Vision: Your company’s vision, describing where you want to be in seven to ten years. This might include the level of success you’d like to achieve, the respect you’d like to earn in the industry, and the brand image you’d like to establish in the minds of your fans.
5. SWOT Analysis: An internal and external examination of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Ultimately, this section justifies your business idea by showing that it fits a specific and profitable niche in the marketplace, and that you have the internal strengths (skills, finances, team members) to successfully pursue this opportunity.
6. Customer Analysis: A profile of your “most likely fan” including their age, income level, interests, opinions, and more. Additionally, this section shows how specifically you are going to use this information about your fans to help you better reach and communicate with them.
7. Competitor Analysis: A thorough analysis of your competitors’ recordings, stage performances, merchandising, and overall brand. Most importantly, this section shows what you can learn from your competitors’ strengths (i.e., what you can emulate) as well as how you can capitalize on their weaknesses (i.e., how you plan to differentiate your band and stand out from the pack).
8. Testing & Feedback: Results from surveys, questionnaires, and interviews you’ve conducted on your target audience. This part of your plan is especially important to investors who need verifiable proof that your music (or other business idea) is a viable and profitable one.
9. Goals: Specific objectives based primarily on the sales you hope to make—or the fans you hope to attract—in the next year. A band might include the number of records it hopes to sell (or streams it hopes to get), the average number of people it would like to attract to its shows, and the total number of names/fans it would like to add to its database within the next year.
10. Strategies: Methods for how you’ll achieve your goals including branding, product development, pricing, distribution, promotion, and marketing analytics. A band might include logo ideas and artwork, whether to produce flash drives or CDs, how much it intends to charge for its music (if anything), who will distribute the music online and offline, whether it plans to “outsource” a publicist or do it all in-house, and how it will measure the success of its marketing.
11. Costs: A detailed budget delineating expenses involved in executing your strategies. Recording, mixing, mastering, manufacturing, building and hosting a website, creating an electronic press kit, and merchandising expenses can all be included here.
12. Time Line: A time line to help organize the execution of your plan. Tasks can be organized quarterly (in three month blocks), weekly, daily, and even hourly if you’d like. The more precise you are about when tasks must be completed, the more likely you’ll reach your goals on time, on budget, and on quality. And finally…
13. Appendix: An appendix containing any detailed charts, graphs, club listings, radio stations, or research findings you’d like to include. (This is optional.)
By the way, I call it a Marketing Plan of Attack ™ because when it is handled with extreme detail and care, your plan should be analogous to a battle plan—something on which you’d be willing to bet your entire life and the lives of others on your team. It’s that important!
No matter if you’re an artist recording an album to release it to fans, or a composer building a studio to delivery tracks to ad agencies, a Marketing Plan of Attack ™ can get your career on track, keep your band organized, and entice investors too. So why not put your very own marketing plan together today?